iPhone 3G reception issues to be relieved by software - report

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A small percentage of iPhone 3G users who say their phones are plagued by poor 3G network reception may soon see their connectivity problems rectified by a software update, a new report claims.



Although there has been no admission by Apple or its broadband chip suppliers that any such issues exist with the 3G technology included in the new iPhone, a report by Nomura analyst Richard Windsor earlier this week set off a chain reaction of media reports filled with speculation on the matter.



For instance, a report by Sweden's engineering magazine Ny Teknik, covered by the Associated Press last night, cited 'unnamed experts' as saying the 'most likely cause' was a defective adjustments between the iPhone 3G's antenna and an amplifier that captures very weak signals from the antenna.



For his part, Windsor speculated that an "immature" chipset solution from Infineon could be to blame for the sporadic issues experienced by users across multiple continents. Yet another theory from iSuppli analyst Francis Sideco fingered any of a number of parts, "from the phone's antenna and amplifier and the radio frequency transceiver to the baseband that processes the digital signal and sends it to the speaker or screen."



The most recent report on the problem arrived Thursday courtesy of BusinessWeek's Peter Burrows, who cited "two well-placed sources" as saying the reception issues are tied to the iPhone's Infineon chip and will be addressed via an upcoming software update -- likely iPhone Software v2.1 -- rather than through a more disruptive step, such as a product recall.



The problem is said to to be affecting between 2 percent to 3 percent of iPhone traffic, which compares with a dropped-call rate of around 1 percent for all traffic on AT&T's U.S. network. "This is a problem, but it's not a catastrophe," one of Burrows' sources is quoted as saying.



Another source said: "Apple programmed the Infineon chip to demand a more powerful 3G signal than the iPhone really requires. So if too many people try to make a call or go on the Internet in a given area, some of the devices will decide there's insufficient power and switch to the slower network—even if there is enough 3G bandwidth available."



BusinessWeek added that the problems have been isolated to high density areas such as Boston, the San Francisco Bay area, and several locales overseas. The reason the problems are just now manifesting is due to the increasing number of activations with each additional day the iPhone 3G is on the market, the report claims.



"Two sources say Apple will likely issue a software update by the end of September—if not by the end of this month—to resolve the issues," Burrows wrote. "Apple and Infineon are currently testing the fix, which will be included in a broader update of the iPhone's software."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 74
    sapporobabysapporobaby Posts: 1,079member
    APPLE should have hired some guys from Nokia or SonyEricsson to help with the phones.



    Lesson learned.
  • Reply 2 of 74
    So how much 3G bandwidth is out there?



    Haven't heard of this as a possible issue before - even if it's not really happening and the chip only thinks there is a bandwidth problem. So... could there be a day in the future where too many 3G phones exist for a network to handle connections effectively... or would technology stay ahead of that curve?



    Just rambling - bored at lunch today.
  • Reply 3 of 74
    sapporobabysapporobaby Posts: 1,079member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zendolphyn View Post


    So how much 3G bandwidth is out there?



    Haven't heard of this as a possible issue before - even if it's not really happening and the chip only thinks there is a bandwidth problem. So... could there be a day in the future where too many 3G phones exist for a network to handle connections effectively... or would technology stay ahead of that curve?



    Just rambling - bored at lunch today.



    In theory, you should never run out of bandwidth on an IN. It should start using QoS parameters to start disconnects, restarts, etc..... However, if you have a poor network planner or the operator tries to cut costs, you could theoretically start having bandwidth problems. Good question though.



    P.S. Rambling is a good thing.
  • Reply 4 of 74
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,035member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sapporobaby View Post


    Nokia should have hired some guys from Nokia or SonyEricsson to help with the phones.



    Lesson learned.



    You want to re-write that?
  • Reply 5 of 74
    sapporobabysapporobaby Posts: 1,079member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    You want to re-write that?



    Smart ass



    Hey Melgross.
  • Reply 6 of 74
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    You want to re-write that?



  • Reply 7 of 74
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Even if it's a small percentage of calls that have problems, a few annecdotes I've seen may suggest that those drops are concentrated on certain phones (or in certain areas): so most people get AT&Ts usual connection reliability, while a few get much worse. Of course, forum postings aren't evidence of how widespread the problem is, but I'd rather see Apple pay needless attention to a NON-issue (and address the few problem cases individually) than overlook a real problem!



    Note, according to Daring Fireball, "Nomura analyst Richard Windsor," who started this media storm (and seems to be the source of fears that only an internal hardware change might help), is the same guy who started a blatantly fictitious report of hardware problems with the FIRST iPhone: an "increasing" wave of dead spots on Apple touch screens.



    Like Windsor's 3G/Infineon report, his iPhone scare last year was packed with convincing-sounding technical and business details--which were entirely false. He said that iPhones use a chemical film on top of the glass that senses heat to detect touch, using technology from a Finnish company,and that this film breaks down several months after purchase. Awfully detailed and convincing! Better not buy an iPhone!



    Of course, iPhones have NOTHING on top of the glass to break down, and don't use heat at all, and it takes no effort at all to uncover those facts. Windsor's FUD re touchscreens had to have been intentional--it's hard to imagine mere incompetence leading to such detailed false info.



    See:

    http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/2...hone-deadspot/



    So, I take Windsor's latest claim with salt. A problem exists, at least for some small number. How many? Who knows--it's only natural to post when you have a problem and not when you don't. But fears that it needs a hardware change seem to come from Windsor, so that's the detail should not be taken too seriously without more evidence.



    I hold out hope for a software fix, and will watch the issue with interest before I buy my 3G.
  • Reply 8 of 74
    galleygalley Posts: 971member
    The download speeds of my original iPhone may suck, but you can always depend on consistently slow speeds.
  • Reply 9 of 74
    My experience with my 3G tells me that the signal strength indicator (the bars) is more honest on the iPhone. More accurate.



    I get one to two bars in my house on the iPhone. Now I used to get 5 bars in my house with my old POS standard mobile phone. Thing was, with my old phone, if I didnt have at least two consistent bars, the phone would not connect. If my 3g has any signal at all it works perfect. What do I care how many bars the At&t icon shows as long as it works fine and streams Pandora and Tuner just dandy?



    I just think what constitutes 5 bars on the iPhone is a much stronger signal than what constitutes 5 bars on most other phones.



    Now, of course, if you are At&t, and you are basing your ads on "more bars", then of course you want your phones to lie and go ahead and show max signal strength pretty much anytime there is any signal at all.
  • Reply 10 of 74
    I was stuck in LAX Airport this past weekend for a couple hours and I had ZERO 3G. Edge it was. I would assume that of all places, LA International would have bad ass 3G coverage. Yeah, I know assume makes an ass out of u and me.
  • Reply 11 of 74
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dancm2000 View Post


    I get one to two bars in my house on the iPhone. Now I used to get 5 bars in my house with my old POS standard mobile phone.



    I have noticed this as well. My initial thought was that since the 3G is a preference, it may connect to a 3G from a more distant tower if the closer tower only has 2.5G.



    m
  • Reply 12 of 74
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sapporobaby

    Nokia should have hired some guys from Nokia or SonyEricsson to help with the phones.






    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    You want to re-write that?



    Yeah: Nokia should have hired some guys from Apple to help with touchscreen phones.
  • Reply 13 of 74
    Ok, so if Apple is working on a software fix and it will work, wonderful!



    My main issue with all of this is Apple's complete and utter silence on the matter. What would be the harm in acknowledging the issue and saying we will have a fix in short order? It wouldn't hurt and most likely would garner Apple more respect.
  • Reply 14 of 74
    sapporobabysapporobaby Posts: 1,079member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sapporobaby

    Nokia should have hired some guys from Nokia or SonyEricsson to help with the phones.










    Yeah: Nokia should have hired some guys from Apple to help with touchscreen phones.



    News flash, Apple did not invent touch screens. They were around long before Apple thought about it.
  • Reply 15 of 74
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    If this is a simple software issue of changing the sensitivity and it is affecting 2-3% I would expect an update to 2.0.2 to come within the next couple weeks with 2.1 coming out in mid to late September.



    Anyone here able to read the data from the Field Test app? *3001#12345#*







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zendolphyn View Post


    So how much 3G bandwidth is out there?



    Haven't heard of this as a possible issue before - even if it's not really happening and the chip only thinks there is a bandwidth problem. So... could there be a day in the future where too many 3G phones exist for a network to handle connections effectively... or would technology stay ahead of that curve?



    I wonder how many simple phones are being cannibalised by recent trend to smart/multimedia phones.. We know that about half of the new iPhones are new to AT&T and I know that most iPhone owners I know are new to the smartphone so it may not just be an issue with 3G handsets (as even simple phones can have 3G) but the potential for each iPhone using considerably more data bandwidth than other smartphones due it's advanced browser and exploding App Store. We do have data supporting that the few iPhones in existence compared to the entire cell market are trouncing the overall mobile browser stats.
  • Reply 16 of 74
    flounderflounder Posts: 2,674member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sapporobaby View Post


    News flash, Apple did not invent touch screens. They were around long before Apple thought about it.





    Newsflash, the OP never claimed Apple invented touch screens. They merely stated Nokia should ask Apple for help with them. That in no way requires Apple to have invented them, just that Apple has expertise in touch screens. Do you deny that Apple has expertise in this area?



    That would have been like replying to your post with



    "Newsflash, Nokia did not invent cell-phones. They were around long before Nokia thought about it."



    Hell, maybe Nokia did invent the cell-phone. I have no idea. But you get the point I'm driving at?
  • Reply 17 of 74
    sapporobabysapporobaby Posts: 1,079member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    If this is a simple software issue of changing the sensitivity and it is affecting 2-3% I would expect an update to 2.0.2 to come within the next couple weeks with 2.1 coming out in mid to late September.



    Anyone here able to read the data from the Field Test app? *3001#12345#*











    I wonder how many simple phones are being cannibalised by recent trend to smart/multimedia phones.. We know that about half of the new iPhones are new to AT&T and I know that most iPhone owners I know are new to the smartphone so it may not just be an issue with 3G handsets (as even simple phones can have 3G) but the potential for each iPhone using considerably more data bandwidth than other smartphones due it's advanced browser and exploding App Store. We do have data supporting that the few iPhones in existence compared to the entire cell market are trouncing the overall mobile browser stats.





    I think you need to look at the geography of the iPhones as well. Being here in FInland, I have nothing but perfect reception from my iPhone, as well as my N82. However in more densely packed areas, there could be network congestion. In mobile IN designed networks, they are supposed to start dropping data connections in favor of voice calls. Some of these disconnections sound as though the network is reaching saturation. This is an interesting problem that Apple has. I do wish they would not play their loyal customers for stupid and just say that there is a problem and we are working on it.



    By the way solipsism, I have an interesting story for you that I got today from our Sonera rep. It is pretty funny. I will try to PM you later with it.
  • Reply 18 of 74
    walshbjwalshbj Posts: 864member
    If this was a widespread issue there'd be a lot more comments on this thread by now.
  • Reply 19 of 74
    sapporobabysapporobaby Posts: 1,079member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Flounder View Post


    Newsflash, the OP never claimed Apple invented touch screens. They merely stated Nokia should ask Apple for help with them. That in no way requires Apple to have invented them, just that Apple has expertise in touch screens. Do you deny that Apple has expertise in this area?



    That would have been like replying to your post with



    "Newsflash, Nokia did not invent cell-phones. They were around long before Nokia thought about it."



    Hell, maybe Nokia did invent the cell-phone. I have no idea. But you get the point I'm driving at?



    Didn't Apple buy the touch screens from someone rather than inventing and producing them? If this is the case Steve-o can pass a telephone number to Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo where they got the screens in the first place.



    I have no idea if Apple has a touch screen expertise, they do know how to implement them in their devices quite well though. So in this particular context I would say that Apple knows how to implement them as well as Nokia, while Nokia knows how to make phones better than Apple.



    Either way, I hope Apple releases something to let people know that it working on a fix.
  • Reply 20 of 74
    jnjnjnjnjnjn Posts: 588member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sapporobaby View Post


    APPLE should have hired some guys from Nokia or SonyEricsson to help with the phones.



    Lesson learned.



    Utter nonsense. The problem has to do with the fine tuning of a new 3G chipset of Infineon and Apples software. No one has extensive experience with this chipset yet.
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